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Back Protector Saves Top UK Skier from More Serious Spinal Injury

A back protector has saved one of the UK’s top female skiers from a potentially life-changing spinal cord injury.

Charlie Guest sustained fractured vertebrae in her spine when she fell and landed on a boulder during training in Sweden.

The 20 year-old from Perth fractured four of the transverse processes on the left side of her lumbar spine. She then spent eight hours strapped to a backboard during the 155 mile ambulance journey from the remote slope to the nearest hospital.

Slater and Gordon Associate Solicitor, who himself suffered a spinal cord injury  when he broke his neck in a diving accident as a teenager, said the injuries Ms Guest sustained could have been much worse had she not been wearing a back protector at the time.

Spinal cord injuries are one of the most devastating injuries related to recreational sport. There is no doubt in my mind that the back protector Ms Guest was wearing when she crashed saved her from what could so easily have been at the very least a career-ending injury.

Hard shell back protectors, which offer impact protection from severe spinal injuries such as vertebral fractures and spinal cord injuries, are becoming much more prevalent in downhill skiing and in particular snowboarding.

Since the incident, Ms Guest has admitted that she had only worn her back protector three times in the days leading up to her crash. But on the morning of the incident her coach had insisted she use it.

Spinal cord injuries happen in the simplest of circumstances and when you are least prepared. Helmets and back protectors can be extremely effective at preventing head and spinal injuries and I believe the wearing of such safety equipment should be made compulsory for skiers. As this incident so clearly illustrates, it is very easy to forget just how potentially dangerous competitive skiing, where speeds can easily reach 70mph, can be.

Although doctors cannot confirm how soon Charlie Guest will be fit enough to start training again, she is incredibly lucky that she is expected to make a slow but full recovery.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in accidents through no fault of their own. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon have 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Derby, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Merseyside, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire & in Hull.